A newly discovered hormone called Ghrelin, is primarily produced by cells in the stomach and it’s extremely important in appetite management.
Whereas Leptin was discovered as a hormone produced by fat cells and it’s job is to shut down appetite, Ghrelin works in the exact opposite way – to increase our appetite. Not only does it increase appetite, it increases appetite for rich, high-calorie foods and makes them more appealing to people.
So how to turn off or turn down Ghrelin levels?
One thing to understand is that eating turns off Ghrelin. This may be why the suggestion that eating smaller, more frequent meals and not skipping meals may be helpful.
Also of interest, some foods are better than others at lowering Ghrelin levels. Higher protein foods tend to lower the hormone’s effects and higher carbs tends to increase its effects. Therefore, if you are feeling hungry in between meals, snack on a handful of almonds, or other nuts rather than a cookie or other high carb food.
Also, resting is an important factor. Studies have shown that even one to two nights of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels.
Since Ghrelin also regulates thirst, staying hydrated can help diminish the negative effects of ghrelin.